These are troublesome times.
From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year to the repeated police brutality ands state-sanctioned racial violence, Black communities are weary and fatigued.
However, the work still continues in finding a pathway for liberation so that the next generation does not have to endure such pain and turmoil spurred out of the systemic inequalities which begat from chattel slavery to present day.
One way to change that is by the power of the ballot. Many agree that one of the ways to establish a fair and equal society is by providing voters with resources and tools, even in the face of rampant voter suppression, to make sure that they are voting for candidates who hold their best interests.
The other way is by vetting and endorsing progressive candidates who will stand by their communities while in office and by spearheading research and data directed towards addressing the social, economic, health and educational disparities our communities face.
And since Black women continue to answer the call in spearheading civic engagement in their communities, it should be no surprise that some of the most impactful voter rights movements are led by them as well.
Below are some of the most important voter rights and political engagement organizations in the country led by Black women and femmes.
Founder(s): Alicia Garza
About: “Black Futures Lab transforms Black communities into active, interdependent, responsive public partners that change the way power operates—at the local, state, and national level.”
Founder(s): Nse Ufot
About: The New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians.
Main Initiatives: Created the NGP app which provides information about local elections in Georgia, Advocates for Change Institute, established the NGP Action Fund, #TwitchTheVote, Election Protection Volunteers, offering community members rides to the polls. Also backed the Get Your Booty To The Polls ad campaign.
Founder(s): LaTosha Brown
About: “Black Voters Matter goal is to increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny. We agree with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said, ‘Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.’”
Main Initiatives: Established a Voting Toolkit, The BVM Bus Tour, provides state by state resources for voting and volunteer efforts, created the Empower app to mobilize voters, and hosts warrant clinics to help residents obtain suspended drivers licenses due to warrants and traffic violations.
Founder(s): Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
About: “When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.”
Main Initiatives: Provides training on how to organize voter turnout among your community members, volunteer opportunities, early voting drives, and established a voter resource hub.
Founder(s): Stacey Abrams
About: “We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.”
Main Initiatives: Provides volunteer opportunities in Georgia and nationally, provides voters with important resources, filed a historic civil rights lawsuit against the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and the Georgia Board of Elections for disenfranchising voters, advocates and supports grassroots organizers who are doing the work on a local level.
Founder(s): Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson
About: “A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a community that inspires Black Girls to use the political process to improve the quality of life for their families and the collective community.”
Main Initiatives: Encourages supporters to join the BGV network, engages and trains members to engage their local community members by becoming BGV ambassadors. Also hosts voter registration drives.
Founder(s): Aimee Allison
About: “She the People brings together a national network of women of color — voters, organizers, movement builders, elected leaders — to transform our democracy. We unite under shared values — to love our own and others, to make justice the law of the land, to create a country where everyone belongs, and to make this American democracy live up to its greatest promise.”
Main Initiatives: Wants to become the largest voter mobilization effort for women of color in the country, offers donation efforts to help back progressive women of color candidates, created virtual text banking drives, hosts multiple voter education driven events including the She The People Summit and town halls.
Founder(s): Holli Holiday, Melanie Campbell, Felicia Davis, Avis Jones DeWeever, Renee Redwood, Petee Talley, Salandra Benton, Elsie Scott, Carol Joyner, Janaye Ingram, La Tosha Brown
About: “We support issues and policy that affect the well-being of Black women, their families and communities of African descent and economically disadvantaged communities; – We provide education about issues, candidates for political office and the political process; – We promote the civic participation and community leadership of women of African descent and the diaspora in America; and – We engage and organize our community locally, nationally and online to stand for the issues, policies and people that impact the lives of Black women and their families.”
Main Initiatives: Hosts digital town hall and zoom events to mobilize Black women voters, supports issues and helps disseminate information on policies pertaining to Black women, helps community members organize on the ground efforts.
Founder(s): Glynda C. Carr, Kimberly Peeler-Allen
About: “Higher Heights is the only national organization providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.”
Main Initiatives: Created the Higher Heights for America PAC to help elect Black women candidates and the #BlackWomenLeadToolkit, spearhead several data driven reports around the status of Black women in American politics.
Founder(s): Charlane Oliver, Tequila Johnson
About: “The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for Black Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. We are a Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonpartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives. We believe in using our voting power as a weapon in the fight for social and economic justice.”
Main Initiatives: Hosts events based in Tennessee to mobilize Black voters, commissions data and reports on topic pertaining to to Black voters, helps community members organize on the ground efforts.
Founder(s): Mayor Candace Hollingsworth (Hyattsville, MD), Dr. Wes Bellamy
About: “Our Black Party exists to advance a political agenda that addresses the needs of Black people. We envision an America where Black people are liberated and participate freely in the political, economic, and social systems that work together for our benefits. We will power the Black political agenda by developing a coalition of people and organizations committed to building Black political power and fiercely advocating for radical change that dramatically improves the quality of life for Black people in America.”
Main Initiatives: Created a network by collecting names and email address of interested members, conducts research via surveys, hosts state wide calls with local political leaders and organizers, helps community members organize on the ground efforts.